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Recommendation for a Snow Car?
27 posts from 15 users
Updated one year ago
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2 years ago
Well… After 12 years, my trusty Jeep Cherokee has accumulated 206,000 miles, and even though it runs like a champ and I’ve babied it like a spoiled child, I am starting to get concerned about its ability to do an unimpeded run from Philly to Snowshoe (or perhaps soon, Vermont). So I’m in the market for a replacement. I had my soul set on a hybrid but when it comes to 4WD/AWD vehicles, the technology just doesn’t justify the expense and either they get the same gas mileage as an efficient gas-powered 4WD/AWD or they tend to have minuses in their off-road, snow handling or resale value.

So after a matrix, research and price comparison, I’m looking at either:

1. Ford Escape Hybrid 4WD - 30 MPG - $35K
2. Subaru Outback AWD - 25MPG - $35K
3. Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 4 X 4 - 22 MPG - $43K

I’m leaning on the Subaru although, as I said before, I had my heart set on the Ford Escape Hybrid just because it’s a hybrid. However, the research I’ve done on it doesn’t give it the best rating on snow handling, which is about the only reason why I would buy a new vehicle…

Any ideas?
2 years ago
It sounds like you can wait if the current Jeep is doing that well. I’d try to get one more year out of it in the hope of one or two of the manufacturers releasing a better hybrid. But, if you can’t I’ve heard a lot of good things about the Subaru. Then again, one Jeep has lasted you 200+ why not another??
2 years ago
I have owned all three at various times. Currently, I have an Escape Hybrid. It is shaky in the snow. I had a Cherokee and it was good in deep snow but not so good on ice and dusted roads. The best all around snow car I had was the Subaru, although it has limitations in the deep stuff.

Buy the hybrid if you can afford it and keep the Jeep for the deep stuff, and if you wreck it—so be it.
2 years ago
Had the same issue back in 09 & ended up going with a FWD 6 cyl Ford escape. I bought some snow cables for the front.. if needed.. but I only put them on once in 2 years & that was really more for the fun of it..But they def helped me get through some deep snow on the back roads.
I’m thinking that the Ford Gas 4wd should work very well.

I had a much better Summer work wise this year than I thought I would due to the Economy & since Betterhalfski pretty much Stole my Escape I went out & bought me a brand new Silverado Crew cab 4x4 Z71 off road Snow blazing Machine that has lots of room in the back (seats fold up nice for great cargo space)…It gets 21 Hwy & 15 in town..allthough I have been getting 16 or more in town in between Goosing that nice V8 for the speed thrill!..Wish you luck…
2 years ago
We tested the Outback last year before we bought our new Forester. We actually liked the Outback a ton. It drove great and just felt like a nice car. We only settle on the Forester because of price issues.

I recommend the Subaru!
2 years ago
First thing is that AWD does not equal 4WD. First its all about weight and secondly it about the tires. AWD vehicles don’t have a 4WD low gear, which will get you out of the snow or sand when stuck. The light weight AWD & 4WD drive vehicles will ride up on the snow/sand and get stuck, where heavier 4WD vehicles will just push right through the snow/sand. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dug out or drug out AWD & 4WD vehicle that were suspended in the the air due to the lack of weight. I like Subaru’s a lot, but I just wouldn’t want to be in a wreck in one as they don’t weight enough (it’s a physics thing you know).

But don’t listen to me, I only drive 30-40K a year and I own a AWD drive vehicle, as well as a big gas guzzling 4WD SUV.
2 years ago
I’ve done them all and now have our 5th Outback. I’ve driven to the valley for years with one. My current set of wheels is a 2010 and it is very good in snow. It has a much higher clearance than the old legacy models. I can attest to the virtues of a SUV in deep snow having a Tahoe and busting first tracks over Cass once was a real adventure in it. I’ve also bellied up my 98 outback in deep snow but knew it was going to happen.
At 30 MPG with the feature of AWD, the outback is best. Everybody else just tries to imitate it.
2 years ago
2nd vote for the Escape. My favorite destination trip rental vehicle.

Really nice road holding and crosswind stability; fantastic parking manoeuverability for a vehicle that size.
2 years ago
4R and done
2 years ago
My dream car is a Ford Excursion - 3 tons of v10 fun! 5 mpg better, 10 mpg better - who cares - the $45,000 on a new "good gas mileage" car pays for a LOT of gas!!! Am happy with my 2 Jeeps - Wrangler great for snow, Grand Cherokee really comfortable. But alas, have outgrown both…need more room. New - I’d go for the 2012 4-door Wrangler with the new Pentastar engine. But power & comfort - would go for the Grand Cherokee w/Hemi…would give anything for that…but $47,000! LOL Thinking used Suburban or Tahoe. Deep snow - makes no difference…got temporarily stuck twice last year in the Wrangler - had to shovel out the undercarriage. Plowing into 3’ of snow might have been doable in the Excursion!
So, what does it look like snow-wise for Snowshoe and that drive (THAT DRIVE) this season?!? Always meet a LOT of stranded cars on the backside going up.

Addendum: went to "build your own" on Jeep.com…opps…GC + Hemi = $63,000 !!!
2 years ago
Well… I did it this morning. I am having a custom-built Subaru Outback 6 cyl 3.6 Limited, moonroof and nav systems, battery warmer, block heat, all the irons. I test-drove a new one and I was impressed. Very little road noise, a 35 ft turn radius and superb handling. In about a month, my trusty Jeep will be the Whole Foods/Trader Joe’s commuting car and my Subaru will be the Snowshoe/Stowe transportation module.

After looking at a number of vehicles, my preference was the Subaru. As to the handling, I have one anecdote from about 5 years ago, when we went to Aspen. After renting the Subaru in Peña Airport in Denver, we started up the trek to Aspen. No sooner we had crossed the Front Range, a blizzard ensued and we drove in almost whiteout conditions. The AWD performed flawlessly. But just in case, I will get snow chains.
2 years ago
Quote:
But just in case, I will get snow chains.


I’d upgrade to top of the line snow tires first before messing with chains. Kwillg6 would be help there. Chains won’t help much w/ the biggest weakness of a Subie, too much snow on the underside.
2 years ago
I have a 2010 Subaru Outback and its great - I would buy again. A couple recommendations:

1. Get an extra set of wheels and good snow tires. My preference is Blizzaks - they’ve never let me down but I’m sure there are other good ones. My Premium came with 17" wheels but my snow wheels are 16" to give more tire/snow clearance (however speedometer may be off about 2mph). However the 3.6 uses a larger brake so the old OEM 16" will not fit over the caliper.

2. Due to small tire/fender clearance, snow chains can be a challenge (check the owners manual for details). I have not needed them and don’t have any but I hear some folks purchase the low profile wire ones.

3. The Outback rear will "sway" very bad in cross winds. The factory rear sway bar is way too small and the car can be hard to handle in windy conditions. To fix - I along with many other people changed out the rear sway bar (<$100) with a larger bar. Good info at this site:

http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/

(go down to Models - Gen 4 2010-Present

4. Check the above subaru site for the "shakes". Most cars do NOT have it but some have a problem with shaking at speeds over 70 mph (TSP issued, etc - some fixed some not). You should test drive your new car when it arrives to ensure you don’t have a "shaker". Again, no problems with mine.


Driving to Snowshoe from Alexandria, I average about 28mpg.

Enjoy!
2 years ago
Thanks a million. I had researched the shakes episodes and most 2012 reviewers had agreed that it had been eliminated (I can’t imagine how since the body style hasn’t changed, perhaps a new tire manufacturer?).
2 years ago
I probably wouldn’t go with any of these, but if pushed would do ford only because of the reliability I have had with my f150. I will never do another Chrysler product. I can give the list of poor quality items/issues I have had with my Durango. The hemi is about the only thing going for it. Subaru’s are ok, but sill a car and low to ground. A 6 cylinder f150 sits 4 and gets 23mpg. I would I’ve up a couple mpg and get the v8.
2 years ago
I really had my heart set on a Hybrid this year. However, the technology just isn’t there if I’m going to get a 4WD or an AWD. So I finally decided on the 2012 Subaru 3.6R Limited and got an incredible price (about 4K below list price from USAA buying service and god knows how much below MSRP…) Moonroof, full Nav system, block heater, leather interior, etc…. Paying cash for the vehicle also helped. Since then, however, Subaru had a stop shipment on Outbacks, Imprezas and other models due to a recall for Master Brake Cylinders. I understand that FINALLY my vehicle is inbound and should get it next week…

The comment on the Blizzaks is opportune and I’m planning to get them too. The main reason for a new car is for safety in Winter, so whatever it takes…
2 years ago
My dream car = Ford Excursion…3 tons of V10 fun! Outgrew the Wrangler and the Cherokee. Working on an eBay deal…will see. Can’t wait to climb the SS backside in the snow! Would be right at home at SS…4-door/4wd pickups seem quite popular up there too.
2 years ago
WON IT!!! 2005 Ford Excursion LOADED. Delivery from Texas. Big at home, but just another one-of-the-boyz at SS. Wonder if you can buy snow plows on eBay? LOL
2 years ago
I took delivery of my new "Ruby Suby" last week. I love the car. Plenty of power and good gas mileage. The navigation system takes some getting used to it, having an interface totally different than the Garmin nuvi that I’m used to, and the interface with the iPhone is a bit quirky, as you can’t have both the bluetooth phone AND the iPod music feature going on at the same time. So now I have my iPhone only as a phone device via bluetooth and my old iPod as a music center. Of course, the Sirius/XM satellite works wonders too. And the heated seats… Oh the heated seats… I bought a Yakima Cargo box and it certainly does its job as the main trunk space… The trunk is now devoted to Tango’s boudoir with a mattress, blanket and non-spill water dish. The Jeep is now the putzing around town vehicle and the Suby is the long-distance carrier….

[img]https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/dWWQGG-D2VUGGrkA4ixKoXlfwZAlFoyOQMp9K-x7YAs?feat=directlink[/img]
[img]https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/7RrAPHtWZ5PgVGGzDxN8VXlfwZAlFoyOQMp9K-x7YAs?feat=directlink[/img]
[img]https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/WRP80laRhHXX2iEgmsGo6nlfwZAlFoyOQMp9K-x7YAs?feat=directlink[/img]
2 years ago
I do like the color!
2 years ago
Do you guys really go with the serious snow tires this far south? This is the first time I’ve ever put snows on the car (Impreza). I went with Dunlop M3s which are performance snow tires and I’ve found them to cause vibrations at high speed when it’s above ~50 degrees, which unfortunately there’s been a lot of this year. Was very noticeable driving to Rochester just before Christmas, since it was 60+ when we left and 35 when we arrived. Totally different tires at the start and end.

My understanding is that performance snows usually are a little firmer than the serious snow tires and that they’d be even worse in warm weather.

Any comments?
2 years ago
I’ve had good luck with Firestone Winterforce. I spend a LOT of time driving into and out of snow country, if it was only a couple of trips a year i doubt I’d bother with a winter tire. I think the winter tire on dry roads feels a bit more ummmm squirley.
2 years ago
Originally Posted By: jimmy
if it was only a couple of trips a year i doubt I’d bother with a winter tire.


That’s what I said till I got stuck. grin
2 years ago
Originally Posted By: curih
Originally Posted By: jimmy
if it was only a couple of trips a year i doubt I’d bother with a winter tire.


That’s what I said till I got stuck. grin


I think we need to start a summertime gravel-road chaining-up party tradition.
2 years ago
Quote:
That’s what I said till I got stuck. grin


Or hit a realty sign when in a hurry. whistle
one year ago
Ever read "for sale locally" on eBay? Sent the TX dealer a full cashiers check for the Excursion on eBay last year…got it back as someone "walked" in and bought it. But then, did send an extra $20 for mail costs!
Went to Ourisman Chevy in Rockville and bought a GMC Yukon XL SLT last week! Had a rare Stabilitrak option, so AWD but WITH 4-wheel LOW button. Sorta’ a cross between a regular Yukon and a Denali…has everything from sat. radio to OnStar.
Only TWO weeks ago bought Firestone WinterForce dedicated snow tires for the Grand Cherokee in 235’s vs. the original 215’s it came with.
Can’t wait to hit the SS backside in the snow…when it comes to all the abandoned cars I always see…will pass’um or join’um! LOL LOL LOL
one year ago
May think about 2 trips to Snowshoe this year depending on how much rain they get Xmas (an owner really has to go once - HOA Meeting). The Canyonero got an unprecedented highway = 22mpg to Jersey this weekend. City = forgetaboutit…10-12! LOL Would luv to see what it would do on the back entrance IN snow. SNOW…LOL…will it ever?
Oh, re dedicated snow tires…got matching OEM wheels on eBay for the GC, so can easily trade tire/wheel combo back & forth depending on weather.

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